Peasants Are Revolting
1381 Wat Tyler led the peasants of Southern England in a march to London; the first popular rebellion in English history. His leadership proved one of the chief factors in the success of protest against the harsh taxation of the poorer classes.
The King is Murdered, Long Live the King
1488 James III of Scotland was murdered by rebellious Scottish nobles and was succeeded by his 15 year old son, James IV.
A Troublesome Teenager
1509 Eighteen year old King Henry VIII married Catherine of Aragon, the first of his six wives. When Catherine failed to produce a male heir, Henry divorced her against the will of the Roman Catholic Church, thus precipitating the Protestant Reformation in England. Henry went on to have five more wives; two of whom (Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard) he executed for alleged adultery after he grew tired of them. Mary, his only surviving child by Catherine of Aragon, ascended to the throne upon the death of Edward VI in 1553.
Peril at Great Barrier Reef
1770 Captain James Cook, in his ship Endeavour, ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef during his first voyage of exploration. The ship was badly damaged and his voyage was delayed for almost seven weeks while repairs were carried out on the beach. When he eventually arrived at Possession Island, he claimed the entire coastline he had just explored as British territory.
Carry On, Constable
1776 John Constable, English landscape painter was born. He is best known for his paintings representing his native valley of the River Stour, an area that came to be known as ‘Constable country’.
1907 George Dennett (a left arm spin bowler for Gloucestershire) dismissed Northamptonshire for 12 runs. It was the lowest total in English county cricket.#
Le Mans Affair
1955 Eighty three people were killed and at least 100 were injured after an Austin-Healey and a Mercedes-Benz collided at the 24 Hours Le Mans race. The race was continued, officially in order to prevent departing spectators from crowding the roads and slowing down ambulances. Britain’s Mike Hawthorn and the Jaguar team, led by motorsport manager Lofty England won the race with teammate Bueb. As a mark of respect, the pair did not indulge in wild celebration. Funeral services for the dead were held the next day at the cathedral in the town of Le Mans. It was the deadliest ever accident in motorsports.
Arise, Sir Beatle
1965 All four members of the British group The Beatles, were awarded OBEs in Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday honours list.
The Gun Ban
1997 The British House of Commons voted for a total ban on handguns in a free vote.